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Belgium: Congregation for Doctrine of the Faith Questions Brothers of Charity on Euthanasia
August 10, 2017. They Run 15 Psychiatric Establishments

Euthanasia is the “morally unacceptable, deliberate murder of a human person,” reminded the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which questioned the Belgian Community of Brothers of Charity of Gand, on their adherence to Catholic teaching on human life.

The Belgian Community – Broeders van Liefde in the Netherlands) must give up euthanasia, requested the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and their Superior General, Brother Rene Stockman, reported on August 9, 2017 the European Institute of Bioethics (EIB), which published the position of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in regard to the euthanasia of people suffering from a psychiatric illness. The Community could lose its “Catholic” name if it doesn’t adhere to the teaching of the Popes and of the Church on the safeguarding of human life.

Last March, the Belgian Province of the Brothers adopted in fact a “note” making possible the euthanasia of patients at its psychiatric centers, including those who are not in a phase of “terminal illness,” a practice in open opposition to the commandment not to kill and the teaching of Pope Francis and of the Catholic Church on human life.

This international community of non-priests Religious, founded in 1807, refused up to now to practice euthanasia in its 15 psychiatric centers, but the Belgian Community has crossed the red line and the General Council of Brothers of Charity at Rome has disapproved their decision. Therefore, Brother Stockman published a notice opposing the position of the Belgian Brothers.

In an interview on KTO last May, he reminded that since their foundation, the vocation of the Brothers has been to “remove the chains of psychiatric patients to give back life to them.

The document of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, addressed to the Superior General of the Brothers of Charity, recalls the teaching of Vatican Council II, stressed Carine Brochier for the EIB. “Everything that is opposed to life itself, such as every sort of homicide, genocide, abortion, euthanasia and also deliberate suicide; everything that constitutes a violation of the integrity of the human person, such as mutilations, physical or moral torture, psychological constraints; everything that is an offense to the dignity of man, such as sub-human conditions of life, arbitrary imprisonment, deportations, slavery, prostitution, the commerce of women and young people; or also degrading work conditions that reduce workers to the rank of pure investment instruments without regard to their free and responsible personality; all these practices  and other similar ones are, in truth, infamous. While they corrupt the civilization, they dishonor those that perpetrate such practices even more than those subjected to them and gravely insult the honor of the Creator” (Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes, 27).

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith takes up the terms of John Paul II who affirmed that euthanasia is the “morally unacceptable deliberate murder of a human person” (Encyclical Evangelium Vitae, 65) and that euthanasia is part of the category of human acts that by themselves and in themselves are always gravely illicit (Veritatis Splendor, 80).

Signed on June 30, 2017, by Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Muller, the document hopes that the Congregation of Brothers of Charity is able to continue “this fruitful service in full conformity with the doctrine of the Church and the well-being of persons, also in the psychiatric institutions of the Congregation of Belgium.”

The press release signed by Brother Stockman last August 5, announced for his part what is expected of the Belgian Council of Administration of the Institutions, giving them up to September 5, 2017  to modify their position on the matter of the euthanasia of psychiatric patients of which they are in charge, otherwise the necessary legal measures will be taken.

The European Institute of Bioethics observed in Belgium recently an increase of euthanasia for psychic illnesses.